A good workman knows his tools – and if you’re a trader, your charting software is your most important tool. Here are my 10 suggestions for using TradeStation more efficiently:
1. Use Google to search for answers
Can’t find it in the manual? Don’t read manuals! Use Google instead. Type site:https://tradestation.com “search term” into the Google search box. This will restrict the Google results to just the TradeStation site. Alternatively search for “search term” plus TradeStation or EasyLanguage.
2. Backup your work and EasyLanguage files
TradeStation has a backup capability in-built. Set this up to run automatically, every week, at 3am so it doesn’t get in your way. In addition, every month I export and save all my EasyLanguage files using the export wizard. These are saved on my hard drive and then I use Google Drive to automatically backup all my hard drive files off-site, in the cloud.
3. Setup hot keys for frequently used functions
Hot key settings can be found under View > Hot keys. I have hot keys for new workspace, new window, copy/paste window, workspace pointer, window pointer, change workspace, change window, etc. You can move around so much quicker with the hot keys.
4. Setup analysis groups
Combine your favorite indicators into an analysis group so you can add them to a chart all in one “hit”. You can also add this indicator group automatically to any new chart you start. Right click on a chart takes you to a number of options – including the analysis group settings.
5. Link windows with the same symbol
The symbol window link (“S” in the top right of each window) will join together different time frame charts of the same symbol. If you change the symbol in one chart – all the other charts will change too. Very handy if you want to look at a sequence of symbols in different time frames. For example, daily, weekly and monthly charts for swing trading stocks.
6. Hot keys for workspace and window pointers
If you use multiple time frame charts you’ll often want to see where you are. Set up a hot key to add a pointer that shows where you are on all the charts open in a workspace. Useful for reviewing history and seeing what was happening in each of the different time frames. I use this at the end of every day to review the day’s Emini trading and setups.
7. Hot keys to move between charts
Easy one here and already setup with the default TradeStation settings. You can select the workspace you want to view with control + page up/down. Then select the window (or chart) you want to be live with control + tab. Finally, change the bar spacing with the up and down arrows.
8. Hard code colors, lookbacks, etc. in EasyLanguage
Difficult to explain this one, but I’ll try. This is a very useful way of making global updates to things like indicator colors, lookback periods, etc. Rather than go into every chart you’ve added an indicator to and changing the colors, etc. – you can do the same just by changing the EasyLanguage code once and re-verifying. Just make sure the things you might want to change are coded as “Variables” and not “Inputs”.
9. Use continuous futures contracts
I see so many charts from traders where they’ve plotted the current futures contract (e.g. ESZ09). That’s great but they have to change it at rollover. If you use the continuous contract version (e.g. @ES) instead, the rollover happens automatically – plus all the history is already on the chart.
10. Use 1440 minute intra-day charts
Particularly useful for getting volume data quicker. End of day volume data is delayed – the exchanges don’t release it until well after the close. But if you use a 1440 minute intra-day chart (1440 minutes = 24 hours) then you’ll get the running total volume traded and know what the daily volume was before it’s released by the exchange. Sometimes the exchange makes some adjustments to the figure but it’s usually pretty close.
11. (Bonus) How to change text size in TradeStation
I often get asked this question: “How do you change the default text size in TradeStation?” Well, here are the steps:
- Select Drawing > Text
- Write some text on your chart
- Right click the text and Format the font, size and color
- Tick the “Set as default” box > OK
- Right click and Remove the text
- Ctrl + R will update the chart with the new text formatting
Plus any new chart will have the new text formatting.
So there you go, hope those time saving TradeStation tips and tricks are helpful.